Shop Small and meet Coventry's independent business owners

Coventry Village business owners gathered for a group photo in November. Photo courtesy Angela Hetrick.

The independent business owners of Coventry Village say that shopping small is how they built a neighborhood. In a single quarter-mile stretch, Coventry Village hosts more than 40 independently owned businesses.

This holiday season, Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) invites everyone to meet the independent business owners of Coventry through a special spotlight feature on its website and Facebook page.

The Coventry business owners gathered recently for a group photo, in which they appear in the following order:

Top row (from left): Iline MacLellan (Grums), Christina Attenson (Attenson Antiques), Larry Collins (City Buddha), Leanne van Beers (SpyngaFlows), Steve Presser (Big Fun), Tommy Fello (Tommy's), Tom Gathy (Heights Hardware), Andy Gathy (Heights Hardware), Bob Yanega (Gateway Heights Church), Doug Hayslip (Sunshine Headquarters Too), Vince Manzano (Heart & Sole). 

Front row (from left):Kathy Blackman (Grog Shop/B Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade), Suzanne DeGaetano (Mac's Backs Books), Debbie Duirk (Inn on Coventry), Rob Love (Record Revolution), Laurie Klopper (Blush Boutique), Jessica Morris (Houde School of Acting), Cosmin Bota (Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt), Adrian Bota (Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt), Bill Gresham (La Cave Du Vin), Eddy Maddox (Eddy's on Coventry/Eddy's Barbershop), Sarah Belzile (Phoenix Coffee), Chelsea McLean (Avalon Exchange).

Each day throughout the holiday season, CVSID will spotlight one of its business owners. Starting Nov. 24, the owners will tell their personal stories, offer holiday shopping tips, and share the names of other local spots that they support. They’ll explain why they believe that shopping, dining and enjoying local helps build a better community.

Suzanne DeGaetano of Mac's Backs, the first Coventry Village business owner to be profiled in the series, described what makes her business unique: "In addition to selling books, we have a book exchange program. Therefore, the books in the store reflect the taste and reading habits of the community." She added, "Our conversations with customers about books are the lifeblood of our store."

Mac's Backs features three floors of new and used books, magazine and stationery products, and aims "to provide bood books in a friendly atmosphere." 

DeGaetano also highlighted upcoming in-store events, including a Dec. 6, 6 p.m., appearance by author Joyce Brabner and illustrator Mark Zingarelli, who will discuss their new graphic novel, Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, and a craft area for kids that Mac's Backs will host as part of the Coventry Village Holiday Festival on Saturday, Dec. 13, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Asked why she chose to locate her business in Coventry, DeGaetano cited its "active street life and cultural diversity."

This is not the first time that Coventry merchants have posed for a group photo showcasing the business district. In 1969 or 1971, Plain Dealer photojournalist Richard Kendzierski snapped a photo looking north as merchants posed on the concrete traffic island that graced the intersection of Euclid Heights Boulevard and Coventry Road. Most of the business owners and shops are gone now, but some, such as Heights Hardware, endure as does the tradition of small, independent businesses that gives Coventry Village its unique character.

Meet the personalities on the Coventry Village website at or

Angela Hetrick

Angela Hetrick is executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:51 AM, 12.02.2014